Daily Archives: 04/15/2006

One Of These Days, Alice

POW! Right to the moon!

NASA’s gonna drive a rocket stage right into the moon and watch what happens. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) got a larger rocket booster than originally planned, and NASA took ideas about how to use the extra lifting capacity. The winning proposal is LCROSS, or Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. Basically the upper stage booster for the LRO is going to the moon instead of being discarded after firing. A small monitoring spacecraft will piggy back on the booster and observe the impact of the rocket booster into a crater at the moon’s south pole. Sounds pretty cool, let’s hope they actually find water ice for future astronauts to use.

In other space news, check out Venus this week in the morning sky. With a good pair of binoculars, the patient observer will be able to pick out Uranus right next to the brilliant morning star. The best dates to catch this will be next Monday to Wednesday, April 17th to April 19th. I’ll probably be out there on Tuesday morning, when Venus and Uranus will be separated by less than half a degree.

Faking Rockwell

Breaking Home Ties; Norman Rockwell, 1954. © Collection of Trachte FamilyHere’s an odd little story: When cartoonist Donald Trachte’s sons loaned his Rockwell painting, Breaking Home Ties, to the Norman Rockwell Museum in 2002, there were questions about the painting. It did not seem to exactly match the tear sheet from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1954. Certain details seemed off, especially in the face of the young man depicted in the painting. But the provenience of the painting was exact; Mr. Trachte purchased the painting in 1960, and it hung on his wall until it was loaned to the museum in 2002.

Well actually it remained on the wall until last month. Turns out Trachte created a near duplicate of the painting, and displayed that on his living room wall. He hid the actual painting, along with several others, behind a false wall. Trachte and his wife divorced in the 70’s, and he probably made the fake at that time to hide his true assets. His children uncovered the deception when another original painting Trachte owned revealed discrepancies with earlier photographs. They searched their father’s house and came across photos showing two versions of the Rockwell painting. That prompted a detailed search of the house for more clues and the discovery of the hidden cache of paintings in the living room. And so a lost painting was recovered, even though nobody ever suspected it was missing.

Carnival

Since Jimbo tossed this out there last week, this song’s been playing in my head. There are certainly worse things to keep thinking about. Mark Lanegan is way cool, and I just smiled when I read Jimbo’s stream of consciousness post. Whiskey for the Holy Ghost is great album, as somber and elegiac an album as was released in the ’90s, and this is probably the best song on it.

Carnival

Where in the world have you been
It’s as strange as I’ve ever lived
So you’re comin’ along to the sideshow
I’ll be fallin’ all over like dominos
For girls are sad in their eyes
They’re all standin’ around bein’ hypnotised
And walkin’ me back to the firin’ line
Ya smile to get in the door
Ya can’t keep it closed anymore
Tell your ma that you’re gone to the freakshow
I’m crawlin’ all over the carnival
Just scratchin’ a stitch in a skin
I’m moanin’ for more of the medicine
In the mornin’ you’re wonderin’ where ya been
Just turnin’ your back to the ghost
And tryin’ to look like you just might know
That all of the good that you’ve seen
Just went down and into the drain
Oh kids am I straight out for now
In the mornin’ I’m gonna find it on out
What in the world can it be
It’s as strange as I’ve ever seen
The girls are dead in their eyes
Just standin’ around like they’re hypnotised
Who’ll follow me back to the freak show
I’m crawlin’ all over the carnival
And I am gone
The kid’s in a straight out for now
In the mornin’ I’m wanna find it on out
What in the world can it be
It’s as strange as I’ve ever seen
The girls are dead in their eyes
Just standin’ around like they’re hypnotised
Who’ll follow me back to the freak show
I’m crawlin’ all over the carnival
And I am gone

The Great Quake Of 1906

I’ve been through some massive earthquakes; they are seriously not cool. Maybe that’s why this centennial interests me.

Next Tuesday marks a century since the Great Quake of San Francisco. On the morning of April 18th 1906, San Francisco was jolted awake by an estimated magnitude 7.8 earthquake that left over 3,000 dead in the rubble of a city. The area remains extremely susceptible to quakes and tremors due to the hundreds of fault lines crisscrossing the Bay Area. Scientists say the area is ripe for another big quake.

Of course the West Coast is not the only area prone to earthquakes. My home state of Missouri is also located on a dangerous fault line. Three massive earthquakes in 1811 devastated the region around New Madrid, and a recurrence of that quake would spell disaster from Memphis to St. Louis.

Radio Bikini

Despite being awarded hundreds of millions in 2001 for the thermonuclear destruction of their home, Bikini Islanders are still a dispossessed people. The US has not paid even one percent of the amount awarded to the people of Bikini, so now they are suing the United States for their compensation.

I cannot stress enough, watch Radio Bikini. We deliberately took a paradise untouched by war, and annihilated it just to see what would happen.